Are Stress and Sonia Behind the Mehbooba-BJP Stand-Off in J&K?

Will Mehbooba Mufti agree to be sworn in as the next chief minister to head the PDP-BJP coalition?

3 min read
PDP President Mehbooba Mufti (Photo: Reuters)

Will she? Won’t she? The suspense over whether Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) president Mehbooba Mufti agrees to be sworn in as the next chief minister to head the PDP-BJP coalition government has to end sooner or later, but the stress under which her father served during the past 10 months is weighing heavily on the daughter’s mind.

“Mufti sahib served under stress during the last 10 months as the chief minister. He had strong shoulders to bear the burden despite a hurting sense of betrayal because the promises made to him did not come off,” a close confidante of Mufti Sayeed, who is believed to also enjoy Mehbooba’s confidence, told IANS.

Both Congress President Sonia Gandhi and Union Minister Nitin Gadkari visited Mehbooba Mufti to offer her condolences. Her father had a long-time hot and cold relationship with the Congress party, serving as a minister on multiple occasions in Congress governments. Sonia’s visit yesterday has fuelled speculation that the NDA government in Kashmir may end much sooner than expected.

The recently deceased Mufti Mohammad Sayeed with his daughter and PDP President Mehbooba Mufti. (Photo: Reuters)
The recently deceased Mufti Mohammad Sayeed with his daughter and PDP President Mehbooba Mufti. (Photo: Reuters)

Mehbooba Reconciling to the Hard Realities of Politics

The much talked about relief for which he fought still hangs in balance after his death. The family expected the prime minister to come personally and meet them during the bereavement. If Sonia Gandhi could keep politics aside and air dash to Srinagar why couldn’t the Prime Minister? She also feels a sort of betrayal or call it a sense of letting down because the all inclusive development envisioned by the late chief minister did not move beyond promises and words.

As she emerges from the deep shock of losing her father, mentor and friend, Mehbooba Mufti is slowly reconciling to the hard realities of political life.

The feeling that people cannot be denied a democratic government is the one consideration that is likely to end the suspense over government formation. But, assuming that previous confidences are intact between the two parties can only be correct once these are cemented afresh.

Another source close to the Muftis
PDP chief Mehbooba Mufti. (Photo: Reuters)
PDP chief Mehbooba Mufti. (Photo: Reuters)

Mehbooba to be the Next CM?

Senior PDP leader and Lok Sabha member Muzaffar Hussain Beigh has dismissed speculation that any conditions were discussed between the PDP and the BJP for handing over the mantle of state’s governance for the remaining five-year period of the state assembly.

Media reports about a fresh set of conditions being discussed by the BJP to facilitate the elevation of Mehbooba to the top slot were strongly dismissed by BJP general secretary Ram Madhav in New Delhi on Monday.

The only condition that can be agreed to by the PDP for swearing in of Mehboobaji as the next chief minister is that there would be no conditions. No fresh conditions can be set.

A former PDP minister

(Sheikh Qayoom writes for IANS agency, this article has inputs from The Quint)

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